“We always knew that Mark’s book was very funny, incisive and honest but it is wonderful to have it confirmed by its shortlisting for the Polari Prize,” says Steve Clark, Publishing Director at Splendid Books.
The winner of the Polari First Book Prize will receive £1,000 through sponsor Société Générale UK LGBT Network.
“For my eccentric tale of a 1980s childhood and James Bond obsessions to find a place alongside four other skilled and worthy works for the Polari First Book Prize is a massive privilege,” says Mark O’Connell.
“Getting noticed by the Polari judging team – let alone shortlisted – is an honour and underlines Polari’s key support of new voices, new writing and new perspectives, even if one of the 2013 batch does include Roger Moore obsessives and their wasted love on Bond girls. Since Catching Bullets has been published the response and feedback has been so encouraging and often personal. It turns out I wasn’t the only one who grew up loving 1980s cinema!”
Speaking on behalf of the judges, Suzi Feay said: “The judges were delighted to see a growth in submissions this year, particularly from new female authors.
“From such a strong longlist, it was difficult to narrow down the choices to the final six, but we feel they represent the strongest individual voices with the most engaging tales to tell – whether it’s lifting the lid on the ‘Gaysian’ girl scene; a blisteringly funny tale of council house life in Scotland and the north; the witty confessions of a Bond fanatic; a tough female cop with a secret; and finally, a shape-shifting monster of a historical antihero who would give Peter Ackroyd a run for his money. These are books to dazzle, amuse and beguile.”
The winner will be announced on November 13th. You can order Catching Bullets here